122 HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION
edict enjoining that, since learning in Italy, " through the care-
lessness and laziness of certain princes, is everywhere extinct."
central schools should be established in nine cities for the scholars
of the surrounding districts. The recommendation of the Council
under Pope Eugenius a year later, to which reference has already
been made, that grammar schools should be established every-
where by the bishops, was simply a generalization of Lothaire's
edict. In 829 the bishops of Gaul petitioned Charles's son, Lewis
the Pious, asking him to carry out the instructions of this Council.
" We earnestly and humbly petition your Highness," they said,
" that following the example of your father you will cause public
schools to be established in at least three fitting places in your
realm, so that the labour of your father and yourself may not
utterly perish through neglect. So shall great benefit and honour
abound to God's holy church, and to you a great reward and ever-
lasting remembrance."* In spite of increasing difficulties within
and without the Empire, the educational tradition created by
Charles was continued by Lewis's son, Charles the Bald, whose
character and interests were similar in many ways to those of his
illustrious grandfather. In the words of a contemporary, he was
" the stay of schools and studies in well nigh every land " ; and
great numbers of learned Irishmen flocked to his court. " Nearly
all learned Ireland," says the same scholar, " disdaining the perils
of the sea, had sought a voluntary exile, to gratify the wishes of
one who was a Solomon in wisdom."f Under his protection, the
great Irish scholar John Scotus Erigena, the forerunner of the
scholastic movement which dominated the Middle Ages, taught
as master of the Palace School with a frankness of utterance which
would not have been tolerated anywhere outside the court of a
The influence of Charles the Great on English education in the
Ninth Century was specially marked. At the beginning of the
century we find Offa, King of Mercia, the most powerful of the
English kings, writing to Alcuin, begging him to send over one
of his pupils as a teacher for his subjects. Alcuin in agreeing to
do so took the opportunity to compliment him on the zeal which
made " the light of learning though extinguished in many places "
shine brightly in his dominions. Even greater was the effect of
* Poolej History of Medieval Thought, p. 34.
f Quoted by Mullinger, The Schools of Charles the Great, pp. 173-174.